Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

Barking red necks, MP’s pay and unemployment

August 12, 2009

Daniel Hannan, the Conservative MEP who overflows with contempt for the NHS – amongst other things, is off to the USA, I understand. No doubt he will preach to the red necks over there and try to further delay the health care reforms that Obama is shaping. A blog of his that I encountered is revealing – for unreflective idolatry, no Islamic fundamentalist’s committment to their faith can hold a candle to Hannan’s  regard for Thatcher, the bulk of the comments appended to the blog indicate that there are others like him. Time, perhaps, to invent a term for UK based red necks. Any suggestions?
News that Palin is using phrases like ‘Obama’s death panels’ to advance her case suggests very strongly to me that she is every bit as dangerously deluded as many had feared. That she has resigned her governorship and may run for President in 2012 makes that campaign one to watch.
Other Conservative nomenklatura in the news this week include Alan Duncan. He can’t manage on his MP’s pay and feels he is ‘living on rations’. A jocular aside perhaps but it does bring the thorny issue of MP’s pay into the public arena – again. My current view is that MP’s pay should be a fixed multiple of the mid-point between the national minimum wage and the national average wage. This will keep parliamentarian’s alert to the welfare of people at all points on the national pay scale.

Performance related pay remains in vogue for bankers (compensation and bonuses) and hospitals (payment by results – PBR) despite widespread reservations about its desirability. What about using it in Westminster? Taking Anthony Barnett (open democracy) and Andreas Whittam-Smith’s (Independent) notion of reasserting popular control of politicians, we can establish performance related pay for MPs. Not only would the terms be imposed by popular mandate but, there being an identity of interest, the destructively partisan short-term nature of current politics would be stopped in its tracks.

Make, say, 50% of all MP’s remuneration dependent on a range of measurable outcomes. For example: annual incremental improvements in poverty, illiteracy, crime, inequality, national debt, national energy consumption, national CO2 production, illegitimacy, incidence of specified diseases, smoking, alcohol related deaths, road accidents, public transport use, employment, deaths in the armed forces – I am sure that there are many possibilities.

Sauce for the goose…

Today it has been announced that unemployment is at its highest for fifteen years and one fifth of young people are out of work. Economic cycles persist and cause harm to each generation. We urgently need consistent long term economic planning to lessen the policy swings and the wasteful chaos and dislocation that they bring. Two party politics makes such swings inevitable and needs to be eliminated – which is where Independent candidates come in and is one of the reasons why I am standing.
Popular participation in our participatative democracy is the solution. A clean non-aligned local candidate is not a novelty – Dr. Richard Taylor and Martin Bell have breached the walls of Westminster in spectacular fashion and if we are serious about improving our country and its governance we must pour through the gap in overwhelming numbers.

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HBHS Eco building and unemployment

July 19, 2009

Haydon Bridge High School had a major presentation of their new Eco-School scheme this evening. It was absolutely fascinating. The students have been studying all aspects of sustainable energy and sustainable building and have laid out the parameters for a new block for the school. The new block will have extremely high levels of insulation, a wind turbine and large passive solar gain. Not only that, it looks good too.
John Dowler, the energetic headmaster, showed me where the new block is to be – the site is currently occupied by the old green houses. This is almost central to the school.
A £1million grant has been won to build the new block and substantially upgrade the energy performance of the existing 60’s style system build campus.
One wonders if the replacement of existing school buildings that was mentioned by the Labour administration will survive the coming spending cuts. Haydon Bridge deserves a brand new school campus. It serves an immense catchment area and has done so very well for many years.
Unemployment is now 2.38 million – the largest quarterly increase since comparable records began in 1971. Will politicians wake up to the need for stable long term economic planning? Will the need for diversity in the economy be recognised and acted upon? Will the limits to globalisation be acknowledged and the social and environmental costs be factored in to the economic planning process? This latest bulge in unemployment is a direct consequence of the banking crisis and associated chaos in the money markets and is itself a direct consequence of the failure of the Anglo-American unregulated free-market model of global capitalism – unleashed by Reagan and Thatcher and accelerated by Blain and Brown. It’s definitely time for a change but both of the largest players are equally guilty – time for Independent candidates to leaven the mix in parliament.